Sixth Fleet Player's Guide to Roleplaying -
Authorized by Sixth Fleet Academy
- 1 Foreword
- 1.1 Chapter 1: Introduction
- 1.2 Chapter 2: Method of Play
- 1.3 Chapter 3: Posting Fundamentals
- 1.4 Chapter 4: Do’s, Don’ts and Suggestions
- 1.4.1 1- When in doubt
- 1.4.2 2-The right length for a post
- 1.4.3 3-The right contents for a post
- 1.4.4 4- Posting requirements
- 1.4.5 5- Leaves of absence
- 1.4.6 6- Starting, altering and ending a mission
- 1.4.7 7- Staying in character
- 1.4.8 8- Be a part of the team
- 1.4.9 9- Subplots: how to stay busy
- 1.4.10 10- Super Hero Syndrome (SHS)
- 1.4.11 11-Don't kill another player's character
- 1.4.12 12-Tolerance and good behavior
- 1.4.13 13-Parental Guidance Rating
- 1.5 Chapter 5: How to do a Joint post
- 1.6 Chapter 6: Using other players or Characters in your post
- 1.7 Chapter 7: A Brief View of Plot Development
- 1.8 Chapter 8: Your First Steps on a Simulation
- 1.9 Chapter 9: Promotions, (positions and rank and rate) and Commendations
- 1.10 Chapter 10: Words and Abbreviations
- 1.11 Chapter 11: Enlisted Personnel and Officers
- 1.12 Chapter 12: Creating a Second Character and/or Moving to another Simulation
- 1.13 Credits
The Player's Guide, originally a Cadet's Guide, is put online for the first time by Sixth Fleet Academy in order to complement the basic training course, but also to provide all players with a much needed tool of reference.
This guide reflects standard practice and expectations regarding roleplaying as a whole and will mention variants where they are known to exist.
In its present form it has been gently dusted off for obsolete mentions ("script style", fleet-level chain of command), with a few notes added (the Nova simulation interface, basic notions on Enlisted rates and positions).
Revisions will proceed all through 2013, with the following goals: to reintegrate the bio guide, to expand information on the in-game chain of command, to fledge the Enlisted chapter with material by the original inceptor of the program and (finally) to add a much missed section on "playing a civilian".
Other additions will include more of a chapter on standard rules, tips and advice, at the moment disseminated throughout the guide; a section on tools and resources (expansion courses, holding a fleet position, Fleet comms…) to take a definite turn from Cadet's Guide to Sixth Fleet Player's Guide.
In its present form, the Sixth Fleet Academy is confident that the Player's Guide represents a helpful source of accurate, updated information on the overall fleet roleplaying practices.
Thank you for directing your helpful comments and suggestions to email@example.com
Chapter 1: Introduction
Across the internet a variety of role playing games exist. Each has its own rules and style. This guide is aimed at introducing our method of play, and some of the other major aspects of the role playing game, as operated in Sixth Fleet.
For other matters regarding Sixth Fleet and a larger documentation base such as positions descriptions, technical articles… we encourage you to browse Memory Zeta.
Chapter 2: Method of Play
1- What's in a game?
Sixth Fleet is composed of e-mail based role playing games, also called “play-by-post” games. This means that game play revolves around reading and participating in a story that the players create from their imaginations. We achieve this by writing a post and sharing it with the rest of the crew to read.
Within this post, players create a new section of the story, introducing their own perspective on events, adding actions and creating openings for others to take part in and interact. As each player adds a new element, the story is created.
In essence each post is a new chapter in the story, and just like a book, or a script, to be able to understand the events and add your own element to the story, each chapter must be read in order. Various post samples are included within this guide.
2-How does it work?
Simulations operate either with an automated mailing list, most generally Yahoogroups!, or through an online interface of the Nova type accessed through their website.
An emailing list like Yahoogroups! is an automated email archive that can be used either strictly by email (received or sent) or through its online interface.
A Nova interface is in short an interactive website equipped with enhanced functionalities geared towards roleplaying, which include similar options for accessing archived posts, receiving emails from the simulation and sharing game posts and messages with it.
In either case, players need to have or create a personal account.
All the players are added to their simulation's mailing list or interface. The posts shared through this media are automatically archived and redistributed to every other individual on that simulation, via email. Players log or mail their posts in turn. The simulation's archive ensures that any player can find the posts again if the mails were lost or they need to access them from a different device.
Most archives dedicated to posts at least are public, meaning that anyone can read (but only read) from it.
3-Where do I get all the information I need to post on my simulation?
Simulations generally maintain a separate "chat" list, board or forum for "behind the scenes" exchanges between players: this is typically the place where the command team will notify specific news and mission information, and where players can ask their questions if not by private mail to the command team.
All simulations maintain an online site in order to provide essential data regarding the simulation's environment, also called "gameverse": the ship or facility (class, layout, technical specifications), the "cast" (a crew manifest from which character biographies can be accessed), the simulation's location, timeline, mission orders and more. Oftentimes, the site includes mission logs (summaries of past missions) and will display player awards.
Depending on the simulation, part of the data may be displayed on Memory Zeta, where each simulation has a specific section at their disposal. Memory Zeta also holds a wealth of data to which we add around the year.
Chapter 3: Posting Fundamentals
1- Basic terminology
The term SIM refers to the simulation in which you play. The SIM is the world that is created by your GM, or Game Manager. The term GM refers to the Game Manager of the simulation, who leads the simulation under their sole authority. In Sixth Fleet, this will typically be the Commanding Officer of the SIM in which you participate. The GM/CO and the AGM/XO (Assistant Game Manager / First Officer) are present to assist and oversee you, the player, and to answer any questions that may arise.
Chain of Command (CoC) The Chain Of Command (CoC) is an invaluable way of ensure the storyline follows a structured plot. It should be followed when in character (IC) at all times. When out of character (OOC), most sims are more relaxed: all players are equals, although the Commanding and First Officers will make any necessary decisions in daily running of the sim. A basic view of the chain of command is as follows:
- Commanding Officer
- First Officer
- Department Heads (e.g. Chief Science Officer)
- Assistant Department Heads (e.g. Assistant Chief Science Officer)
- Commissioned Officers
- Non-Commissioned Officers
- Enlisted Crew.
Rank (officers), rate (enlisted) and position are two of three factors impacting the chain of command in specific situations. Experience (expertise, seniority) also counts in a crisis, or simply who the CO put in charge of the Away Team, for example.
Style of posting Within the fleet, the dominant style is the "book" style, the same type of narrative found in novels and short stories. The action is written in past narrative tenses and in the 3rd person, "Bill walked to the door" as opposed to 1st person, "I walk to the door".
Example: Book Style
Heat radiated from the EPS conduits as Lieutenant Jelrolas opened the wall panel. His team mate Crewman Pritchard, looked on at the problem that faced them, "Do you think we will ever get this ship sorted out in time for its launch date?" Pritchard asked, as a smile spread across his face.
"That’s why we are here Crewman!" Answered Jelorlas, as he stared intently as the problem before him, "if we don’t it’s our butts on the line when they find out we didn’t get the job done in time because you couldn’t stop a few EPS conduits overloading every few hours."
"It's not like we haven’t been trying Lieutenant, they just keep breaking again and again!"
The comment bit into Jelorlas more than he had expected, and he couldn’t help but snap out at the crewman. "We will fix them again and again until they are working properly!".
As Pritchard reeled back at his tone of voice, Jelorlas realized his error, "I’m sorry, this is getting to me, as you say this is the fourth time we have done this, and frankly I’m baffled!"
A post is the name given for any IC contribution written by a player and posted to a simulation.
In Sixth Fleet, the "book style", referred to earlier, includes certain expected elements part of what is called post format. Post format exists as a general standard at the fleet level, to which a given simulation may bring some variations.
The post sample below is deliberately shorter than normal. It contains five essential items to include in a post.
Standard post sample
Email subject: The Pandora Trap #45 – Rude awakening – Ens. Manning
" << Manning's Quarters >> "
" == Early morning == "
Ensign Manning woke up in stages and lay there for a while, going over the events of the previous day. His commbadge chirped and he reached for it.
+Chief Nunqeh to Ensign Manning. You were due in Engineering five minutes ago!+
Horrified, Manning scrambled out of bed so fast his foot caught in a sheet. He fell flat on his face but he never let go of the commbadge.
+Sorry Sir! I'm on my way, Sir!+
OFF: Manning is reporting to Engineering on his first day. How about a joint post, Chief?
Ensign Manning Engineering Officer USS Cambrian
2- The post title
" The Pandora Trap #45 – Rude awakening – Ens. Manning " The title is the part that simulations will most often tailor to their own liking.
- Mission title: the storyline that is being developed by the whole simulation, like a novel, has a title ("The Pandora Trap" here). - Post number: 44 posts were sent prior to this one. This one is #45. - Individual title: you may complete the above with a specific title (here, "Rude awakening"), much like a book chapter may have one. When your post is already identified with a number, this is optional. - Some simulation managers will put the various parts of the title between brackets and / or have the player add the name of the character, in our example: Ens. Manning.
[The Pandora Trap #45] [Rude awakening] [Ens. Manning]
The post title should be typed in the email subject of your mail to the mailing list if the sim uses one; or in the dedicated box if you play via a Nova system. In the latter case it is possible the mission title would be automatically added to every post sent.
3- Starting the post
To indicate that all text that follows is part of the story: ON: or IC: (In Character)
4- Location and time stamps
Every player is going to write posts that may happen in a different location and a slightly different moment of the progressing storyline. Where and when your post starts are essential indications and should be put in relief just after "ON" with the correct markers.
" << Manning's Quarters >> "
" == Early morning == "
The example above is generic and assumes that the overall action at this time is happening on the ship/facility and on the same day. A more complex turn of events would require more precise time and location stamps.
As an example, because posts are assumed by default to be chronological, if you write a post that takes place 3 hours in the past and do not time stamp your post, you could very easily cause massive confusion or a split in the storyline.
It is also possible, when the post moves to describe action occurring in a significantly different place and at a different time, to add time and location stamps in the body of the post.
Here are alternate possibilities from the one in our post sample: << STARBASE 19 PROMENADE; 0200 HOURS >>
" [HOLODECK; AT THE SAME TIME] "
// SICKBAY; THREE HOURS LATER \\
TIPS: If the simulation leaves you a choice of symbols, you will quickly find what works best for you, provided it fits the "visible and easy to understand" requirement. In case of doubt, apply the method used by the game manager.
You are advised not to move the time period of a story along too much in one post. If you are on day 2 of a mission, do not suddenly jump to day 3 for example. A few hours is acceptable, but only if it won't hinder other players or get in the way of mission development.
You may not use time stamps to alter events that have already been added to the story. For example if you have been invited to take part in formal dinner with a visiting dignitary, and your character has been posted at the event, you may not time stamp a post a few hours beforehand to escape from attending the dinner. This would create a discrepancy, a "split" in the storyline. The game manager may then require or effect a "fix", possibly "strike" (remove) the post if it can't be fixed to fit the storyline.
5- Ending a post
To indicate that all text that follows is no longer part of the story: OFF: or OOC: (Out of Character)
Signing ‘ON’/'IC' and ‘OFF' /'OOC' are methods we use to show the readers which text is part of the story and which text is not. For example, you would not write a welcome note to a new player or a birthday greeting whilst you are ‘on’, but it is acceptable to add such comments to text following the ‘off’ sign.
Longer OOC messages or those we wish to be seen more immediately (rather than wait for people to have read the game post) are usually sent separately to a specific list or board.This keeps the posting archive clean and reserved to the development of storylines.
6- Signing the post
To gain credit for your post, you need indicate who wrote it, using your character's rank, name, positions and ship/facility.
Ensign Manning Engineering Officer USS Cambrian
Always place your Rank, Name, Position and Simulation below OFF or OOC. Do not assume your email address is sufficient, or add the name of other people's characters if they did a cameo in your post, unless of course that player wrote their own part. (See the section on joint posts).
7- Common symbols
A handful symbols are commonly employed to indicate a variety of actions and functions in a typical post. In some cases more than one way exists to present a format and players are free to choose whichever they prefer, provided it is clear for other players to understand.
- Indicating the use of a commbadge
" =/\= (text) =/\= "
" =/ (text) \= "
" +tap+ (text) +tap+ "
" +(text)+ "
Speech that takes place over the communications network should be clearly indicated, e.g.:
Bright couldn’t help but wonder where John was, they had arranged to meet 15 minutes ago. Perhaps he should contact him? "=/\= Bright to Richardson, where are you John? =/\="
Remember that your conversation should follow the open symbol of the communication. In some cases the indication of the symbol at the end of the text indicates the communication has ended and the channel has been closed e.g.:
+tap+ Bright to bridge (insert relevant conversation) Bright: Thank you, Bright out +tap+
A game master may create a different symbol to indicate communications going through an alien communication array, for example.
- Indicating telepathic communication
The example given above can be used again for this form of communication. The only difference is in the symbols used: ~ (text) ~
~ Mother, I'm not a child anymore ~ Deanna protested.
~ You will always be my 'little one' ~ Lwaxana countered.
Chapter 4: Do’s, Don’ts and Suggestions
There are a few fundamental things that you as a player need to be aware of. This section overlaps in part with others, however tips and advice are present throughout the guide, with some important notes in the following chapters.
1- When in doubt
The command staff and likely any senior player will happily provide advice and feedback. The only silly question is the one that wasn't asked.
2-The right length for a post
A post should be a certain minimal length that can be estimated at 200 words or 15 lines. On most simulations, they will be longer than that. An overly short post is called a "three-liner" and is not perceived as a sufficient contribution; it may happen by need but it should remain exceptional.
Conversely, there is no maximum length for a post but if you are inspired to write one that goes on for much longer than average for your simulation, you should arrange to send it in several parts. In which case the first post may end with:
OFF: TBC (to be continued)
It should be noted that some players are naturally short or long-winded. There is room for all, from the lavish story-teller expanding on three pages to the precise, crafty poster getting their job done in half of one. Different strokes and styles is what make collaborative writing fun.
3-The right contents for a post
At mission time, the mission storyline is what drives the posting. Missions are separated by shore leaves that offer ample opportunity for "character development".
This is not to say that mission time doesn't allow for character development at all; however, a whole post about a character enjoying recreation time on the holodeck while intruders take over the ship is unlikely to engage your audience.
On the other hand, a post describing recreation time on the holodeck, interrupted by the boarding party and possibly making openings for Security to intervene, is entirely acceptable. So is posting to the mission while describing how your character reacts to ongoing events and is affected by them on a personal level.
4- Posting requirements
Unless told otherwise you are expected to post at least once a week on each simulation you are a member of. In the case of simulations heavy on joint posts, the sum total of your contributions should amount to a solo post (see "the right length for a post").
If the simulation doesn't have "posting requirements", it is recommended to post with some regularity and to react timely to new mission developments; otherwise you may be offered less opportunities, as the command staff will not know if they can rely on you to advance the mission within a reasonable time frame.
5- Leaves of absence
If for some reason you are unable to post for a week, it is best to notify either your CO or XO as soon as possible by requesting a "LOA" (leave of absence). The reason is, the whole simulation may be held off waiting for you to post. A LOA request ensures that command staff can adjust the mission and work around your absence, with minimal delay to your fellow players.
Nova systems have a functionality to request LOAs.
Unforeseen events may happen, but vanishing players are a fact of life in roleplaying. By default, a player who is no longer reactive may be considered "MIA" (missing in action) after a length of time and repeated emails. Their character is turned into an NPC, while the player is removed from the simulation eventually. It is always possible to contact the CO/XO after the fact to provide an explanation and request your return.
6- Starting, altering and ending a mission
Only the Game Manager (GM/CO) may start and end a mission, or choose to delegate the task to someone. That is a bottom line rule.
On the other hand, if you have a proposal for a new mission, feel free to send a suggestion to your Commanding Officer and Executive Officer.
It is the same with plot twists that may significantly alter the mission. A mission is usually a scenario painstakingly crafted in advance, aiming for certain key events. Throwing in the surprise appearance of a Q will only amuse one person. It will not be the GM. (See later "Subplots".)
Different simulations may give more or less leeway regarding plot twists. They often delegate by providing a player with additional information behind the scenes so the player can be in charge of implementation. Until you know just how much elbow room you have, contact the command team in case of doubt; even senior players do it on a regular basis (see point 1 above!).
7- Staying in character
Try to remember your biography, read it over now and then and attempt to keep as true to it as you can. Biographies can be added upon as your character grows. They can also be amended but for consistency, a trait that was demonstrated in posts, if regretted, needs to be dealt with in-game so the character grows out of it, rather than doing a nonsensical turnabout.
8- Be a part of the team
Try to write posts so other players can get involved. If you constantly write posts that do not interact with other players, people will not interact with you. As a result you will end up isolated and your gaming experience will be vastly hampered.
The game is about interaction and development of your character. Even a character that is shy, or hates contact with others will have to have such contact. It is inevitable due to the type of carrier they are in. As a result the majority of this individual's posts will be based around there discomfort of that interaction, and possibly the actions of another individual attempting to constantly interact with them, and make them become more friendly.
9- Subplots: how to stay busy
It is not always possible for you character to get involved in the main plot. Some missions simply do not require certain departments. Should you just sit on the side lines and not do anything?
No. Consider a secondary subplot to the main plot that will allow your department, and others to get involved in the mission. Reoccurring subplots are always useful for such situations. But be sure they are suitable. If the ship is under heavy attack, is a romantic dinner in the mess hall really believable?
Some suggestions for subplot:
- a reoccurring technical problem
- cross-training for emergencies with Medical, Engineering…
- a romance with another crew member, or NPC
- a holodeck story
- some form of rivalry, or challenge (sports, marksmanship etc.)
- featuring part of your character's duties that you have yet to explore.
10- Super Hero Syndrome (SHS)
Super-hero syndrome (SHS) is the term used to describe an instance where a player creates a character that possesses super-hero abilities, or suddenly has their character act in such a manner. A character capable of solving every problematic scenario within a mission or dominating a plot is a character portraying "super-hero syndrome" (SHS) and thus detracts from the fun of a mission or plot.
Disadvantages of "super-hero syndrome" (SHS) include minimizing the enjoyment for other members, and, in certain circumstances, having Command deliver a reprimand.
An example of "super-hero-syndrome" (SHS) includes having a character, possibly an unarmed Terran defeating twelve fully armed Jem'Hadar.
In the realm of the Star Trek televised series, problems that arose had to be solved with a specified time; commonly one hour. In a PBEM RPG environment, missions can go on for weeks, so there is no rush in trying to solve everything that may occur.
Also, let's face it, having someone who knows everything is extremely boring. You will find that most Commanding Officers and other individuals tolerate a little SHS in a new player; they have done it before, and if you "slip up", don't beat yourself up about it, with practice hopefully it will all work out.
11-Don't kill another player's character
This is a non-negotiable rule. A breach would have the post struck at best, the player disciplined and/or removed from the simulation at worst. It also applies to NPCs that are the collective purview of the ship, or owned by another player.
12-Tolerance and good behavior
Sixth Fleet simulations will not accept public disputes, these sour the game for all. In case of conflict with another player (a rare instance), it should be kept to private email; if you can't solve the problem one-on-one and diplomatically, you may relay your complaint to the command team and they will help.
Sixth Fleet will not accept discriminating against another player, in any form or shape.
13-Parental Guidance Rating
Most simulations in the fleet are considered to have a PG-13 Rating.
The definition evolves and varies across countries. PG-13 is understood as meaning that use of minor swear words is permitted, but a post shouldn't feature gore, sex and violence in explicit detail. It is quite possible to deal with such items in a manner compatible with a PG-13 rating and it makes for posts that all may enjoy, starting with your own child, kid sibling or nephew/niece, from the age of 13.
Some simulations may announce an NC-17 rating or no rating at all; this is however no leeway to have the halls soaked in blood and hot dates recounted in full. Sixth Fleet doesn't practice this type of roleplaying.
Confused? The measure here is simple: if you never saw it on Trek, don't write it. We don't want to offend anyone and moreover, some of the crew members may still be minors. You never know.
Chapter 5: How to do a Joint post
A Joint Post (JP) is written by two or more players, each portraying their respective characters (or "npcs" non-playing characters) in the storyline within the same post. This can be done in several manners:
1: emailing back and forth to add text until the post is complete, 2: using online shared documents which allow players to add when they are able to; the finished post is copied and pasted to send to the list, 3: using the Nova interface that some simulations operate with, which amounts to the same as above, 4: in real time via instant messengers (e.g. Y!, MSN!, Google chat), copied onto a text document and cut and pasted into email.
These are just a few of the different methods, and each simulation will have their own favourite way of "JPing".
Whichever method is used to JP, it is important to note that the post should only be sent to the simulation’s list when every participating player is finished adding the post. Unless otherwise mentioned by the Game Manager, no incomplete posts with open tags inside the text should be sent to the list.
A start of a JP which is sent to you is likely to look like the following example. Formats may vary slightly, as will the amount of text added at each exchange.
" << U.S.S Vanguard, Bridge >> "
" == Current time == "
Commander Terrik leaned back in the command chair, positioned in the centre of the small, compact bridge. He gave a small grunt as he settled into the chair, remembering the days of his youth when his body would do anything he demanded of it.
The commander turned his head to the current cadet on bridge duty, one hand brushing a strand of grey hair out of his eye.
“What is your name cadet? How are you finding the placement on the Vanguard?” he growled.
“What can you tell me about the Saber class frigate?” asked Terrik, winking at his tactical officer who had turned to listen to the cadets response.
“Very good!” exclaimed Terrik “Now let us see what else you know. Take the helm!” he barked “Bring us around to 074 mark 126, full impulse”
Commander Terrik pushed himself to his feet and stumped over to the Tactical station. He looked over the tactical officer's shoulder at the sensor readings...
A Joint Post by:
Commander Terrik, Son of Devlin Commanding Officer, U.S.S Vanguard
Cadet Ben Summons Tactical Trainee USS Vanguard
A note on timing: If, for example, both writers are on the same global time, a joint post may be written in half an hour. If there are time differences or other delays it may take a few days – so bear in mind that the storyline may progress while you are writing the post.
A JP that can't be completed under a few days may become obsolete, or if it is needed to advance the mission, hold back the whole sim. In the latter case, the command team should be consulted to let them know what is going on and the best conduct to adopt.
A JP should end with the signatures of all the contributing players.
Chapter 6: Using other players or Characters in your post
In a PBEM RPG (Play By Email Role Playing Game), a great deal of creativity and imagination is required by participants. Remember, writing only posts, including only yourself, would be boring for you to write and boring to read. A key to successful RPGing (roleplaying) is the manner in which to involve other individuals in one's posts; it makes the general game more interesting, and offers the additional opportunity for character development - and it usually entices individuals to post with regard to another's character.
In Sixth Fleet, it is permitted to use another player's character in order to make for more fluid play. A typical example would be a group scene in a solo post, on the Bridge, in main Engineering, etc. If you simply need three characters to say a few words or lines, a multiple joint post is not necessary just to achieve that.
Senior players well aware of the art of using someone's character may even extend this into a short scene. A character thus excellently portrayed will usually be a compliment to their owner.
How does one go about writing a post including someone else?
The character biographies on the crew manifest is a great place to start. The crew manifest is usually organized somewhere upon a simulation website. Read the biography of a crew person you wish to include in your post, and look over a few of their posts to see how the character's owner portray them. Remember to follow any quirks or speech patterns a particular player uses in their posting. In addition there exists one very important rule on writing for other characters -
... if you would not want another character to make the post you're about to make, then you shouldn't make it!
TIPS Junior players are often uneasy using another character, or players in general, using a new character on the simulation. One way to get a better hang on that character is to start by JPing a few times with their owner.
Joint Posts however are not always possible. To make it easier, a possibility is to ask permission first, even to show the completed post for a preview and feedback.
However the basic rule is simple and comes easy with time and practice: using another person's character stops at "playing" that other character, by impacting with any durability on their lives, or ascribing feelings and emotions from the inside as you would for your own.
In the case of Senior Staff (department heads) and Command personnel, using their characters should be done with discrimination. Having your department head order you to run a diagnostic or write a report is fine (if consistent with the context). Having the Captain order a course change or decide to send an away team, unless you were authorized to do it, would be considered SHS by proxy.
Chapter 7: A Brief View of Plot Development
Your time aboard a simulation will be split into two forms of play, Missions and Shoreleave. Missions will be moments of activity, where the crew of the simulation will undertake a task or group of tasks. Shoreleave are moments of downtime between Missions where the crew get to relax and enjoy some free time to do anything they wish.
Missions involve a plot which will be started and ended by your Commanding Officer or the Executive Officer. From the beginning of the mission, it is your role and the rest of the crew's, to develop the plot in whatever manner you wish, provided it makes sense and follows the general plot.
This is where having a diverse crew with different ideas makes the game so much fun. Each person has a particular slant on what they want to do to reach the goal at the end; the interaction between the players reaches that goal by plot development.
There are a number of things you should consider when developing the plot, and these are:
- 1- Nobody is superhuman;
- 2- It’s ok to move the plot along, within the context of previous mission orders;
- 3- Ask you Commanding Officer before making major changes to the plot;
- 4- Peace is a good thing;
- 5- Time is not definite;
- 6- Remember the feelings of others.
Chapter 8: Your First Steps on a Simulation
Your first few posts will determine a great deal about you, and your character and it is very important that you take this opportunity to establish yourself with the existing crew members.
Your first few posts should determine who you are, introducing your character and the important characteristics that make up who he or she is. Whilst you may have had time to read mail from the simulation and learn something about the current crew, they have nothing to go on but your biography, which may not be online at the point of your arrival.
The majority of players will wait to learn about you before they try to interact, or any interaction that they do perform will be minimal to start with until they get a feel for your character's persona. So the emphasis will be on you. You must post, even if it is very mundane things like finding your quarters, looking around your department, anything that will provide more information about your character. The more you give the more others have to work with.
Frequent posting in this manner also lets existing players see that if they do interact with you, then they can be sure to receive a response in a reasonable time frame. There is nothing more annoying than trying to interact with someone who never posts. May be a joint post with an existing player will be possible? That way you can interact yet make sure they portray your new character in a manner that is accurate.
So remember, when you first join, the more you post, the more likely others will join in with you rather then ignore you.
TIPS If you are to do one thing right: don't hesitate sending an OOC message on the chat list / OOC board to introduce yourself! It doesn't need to be long. Check for welcome messages from the command team and crew there and be sure to answer them. Just like in the "real world", it is very disconcerting to have a new person arrive, ignore greetings and settle in as if they were alone.
If the simulation is in the middle of a mission, you should not post your character aboard until the CO/XO give you the green light. Your Commanding Officer will determine when the time is right, and inform you of this. S/he will likely provide details on the manner of arrival. If a mission is going on and it is not realistic new personnel would arrive at this time, the CO/XO will likely offer or provide alternatives such as writing your assignment and journey to the sector, posting yourself at the nearest starbase, etc. as well as some tips and background to help with it.
Once you have the green light, you should post as soon as you can, within a week at worst. If however you are unable to do so, you should contact your Commanding Officer as soon as possible and let him or her know. It creates a very bad first impression if you vanish before you have even joined the simulation.
Chapter 9: Promotions, (positions and rank and rate) and Commendations
Never ask for a promotion in the form of a rank or rate or a commendation. It is considered extremely bad manners to ever request a promotion or commendation for yourself. If you feel another player deserves an award or promotion, then by all means send a recommendation to the Commanding Officer stating the reason for the recommendation. Just be aware that the Commanding Officer is under no obligation to take notice.
In terms of promotion in position however, e.g. an Engineer asking to be promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer, a polite request is acceptable. If a vacant position aboard your simulation interests you, then you may request a transfer to that role. Your Commanding Officer will then consider your application and approve or deny it. Just remember to make suitable changes to your biography!
Be aware however that whilst the commendations have criteria which must be undertaken before been awarded, promotions of rank and rate are at the discretion of the Commanding Officer. Some are stricter than others. On the whole your posting performance will determine if and when you are promoted (frequency, how well you interact, your development, how well you work with a mission etc). Never assume you will be promoted, and remember you are here to play, not achieve promotions.
If you are an enlisted officer, take the time to learn what opportunities are available to you at what rate. It is somewhat more simplistic for players who are officers. As an enlisted player you have the opportunity at a set rate to hold roles an officer player can hold. In addition you can transfer to officer status at a set rate. It is important you learn about it. Review this guide for information and look up Memory Zeta for equivalency charts, etc.
Chapter 10: Words and Abbreviations
It is vital that you spell or use grammar to the best of your ability, it is preferable simply for the sake of understanding. You should always check your post for spelling errors before you send it. However you will not be judged on this and no one should hold this against you. In addition, a number of abbreviations are commonly used. These are important to learn simply so you understand what people mean without having to always ask for an explanation. The following will provide you with a collection of correctly spelt terms, and a collection of abbreviations and their meaning.
- Counsellor (UK spelling) \ Counselor (US spelling)
Out of Game Abbreviations:
- AGM: Assistant Game Master (or XO)
- GM: Game Master (or CO)
- IC: in character
- NPC: Non Player Character
- OOC: out of game
- PC: Player Character
- RPG: roleplaying game
- Sim: Simulation (or RPG)
In Game positions:
- CO: Commanding Officer
- XO: Executive Officer
- 2XO: Second Officer
- CONN: Flight Control (sometimes called navigation, Helm) console
- CMO: Chief Medical Officer
- CEO: Chief Engineering Officer
- CTO: Chief Tactical Officer
- COS: Chief of Security, not to be confused with the next one
- CSO: Chief Science Officer
- COUNS: Counselor (Counsellor, UK)
- NCO: non commissioned officer
Some technical terms:
- EM: electromagnetic
- EPS: Electro Plasma System
- EVA: Extravehicular activity
- JAG: Judge Advocate General
- LCARS: Library Computer Access and Retrieval System
- ODN: Optical Data Network
- OPS: Operations
- PADD: Personal Access Display Device
- QSD: Quantum Slipstream Drive
- TW: transwarp
For abbreviation of ranks (officers) and rates (enlisted) please see the Fleet Rank Comparison site on Memory Zeta under "Sixth Fleet" then "Player's Tools".
Chapter 11: Enlisted Personnel and Officers
Within the Armed Forces of today, Officers always outrank NCOs. An NCO (non commissioned officer) with 40 years experience is junior in command to an Officer, fresh from graduation. However, within Sixth Fleet we have adopted a different approach to this issue.
The show DS9 introduced an experienced Enlisted Officer, rated highly, and in a Department Head position. Holding the rate (as per the Sixth Fleet system) of Senior Chief Petty Officer, he now posed an interesting problem. High rated NCOs can hold roles we always considered were only available to Commissioned Officers. In response to this we created the rank-rate comparison chart which can be found on Memory Zeta.
Within this system we took into account that as Enlisted Officers serve, they obtain more and more experience, and as such reach a stage where they are more than able to hold a role that any Officer is capable of holding. It simply takes longer because they have not been trained as extensively at the Academy. As such, an Enlisted Officer can become a Department Head.
! This section was found missing essential material and is under rewrite, based on the original lessons for enlisted from the creator of the Enlisted programme, "Chief Qaz" !
Overview pending a full rewrite
A department has fewer officers than it has enlisted personnel and non comm officers. The enlisted in the department are managed by the department's "Mate" (and overseen by the senior-most enlisted aboard, who has the title of "Chief of the Boat").
On enlisted / NCO rates, see the Rank/Rate equivalency chart on Memory Zeta under Sixth Fleet then "Player's Tools".
On a simulation, an NCO will most likely be a Mate. The department's Mate reports to the Department Head, oversees all enlisted in the department, carries out the orders of the Department Head, makes sure the equipment is functional, that rosters are filled and followed, makes sure all enlisted are trained (and cross-trained), etc.
A standard line for an enlisted/NCO is "Don't call me Sir, I work for a living!"
If need be - but most likely in an emergency and for a brief time! - the Mate may replace the Department Head. Below are the Mate position titles by department:
- Yeoman (command), YM
- Engineer's Mate (engineering), EM
- Quartermaster (operations), QM
- Gunner's Mate (tactical), GM
- Master-At-Arms (security), MAA
- Scientist's Mate (science), SM
- Physician's Mate (medical), PM
Chapter 12: Creating a Second Character and/or Moving to another Simulation
Not everyone stays on the same simulation forever. Some players wish to create a second character and to sim on two or even more simulation at once. This is fine provided you can keep up with all the different games. You may even not like the simulation you were first assigned to from the Academy, or some other reason whichever it may be, the question is, "What procedure should you follow to join another simulation?"
Once you have located a simulation you are interested in, review the manifest and see if they have an open position that you wish to apply for. Some simulations will list a minimum rank or rate to hold the position.
Option 1: Contact the Chief of Personnel Administration by clicking on the "Join" button on the Fleet website or the simulation's Available Positions page. This individual will help you move, or obtain a new position aboard another simulation.
Option 2: Contact the Commanding Officer yourself, through the link on the Available Positions page for the simulation. You should also be able to locate an e-mail contact on the site for your application to that simulation.
For both options you should provide the following details: your name, your e-mail address, the name of the simulation you wish to join, and the position you wish to apply for. In addition, you need to supply all relevant information on your current character or characters (this should include, the current simulation you play on, the position and the rank or rate you have in that role for each character). If you are leaving your current simulation you are also advised to explain why. It is likely any simulation you apply for will check out information about you with your current Command Officer(s).
You are also advised not to provide a new character biography. You do not know if the role you wish to apply for is open, and the Commanding Officer may have requirements on biographies that are not listed on the simulation website. It is simply better to wait and see before wasting your time.
Sixth Fleet's Player Guide liberally borrows from Tango Fleet's Cadet Manual as provided back then by Amy Linderman, itself borrowing extensively from a first or second generation simming guide, published on the net around the time online RPGs began to flourish (in the 90's).
We gratefully acknowledge the original source as well as the many Tango Fleet and Sixth Fleet contributors. Among them, heartfelt thanks go successive Academy Commandants who endeavoured to keep this document fresh and relevant.
Revised May 2013 VAdm. Nathalie Chapman CPA/AC Sixth Fleet ac (at) sixth-fleet (dot) com